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Things You Should Know About Protective Orders

Booklet: Things You Should Know About Protective Orders

This booklet provides general information about protective orders--Order of Protection, Injunction Against Harassment, Injunction Against Workplace Harassment, Emergency Order of Protection, and criminal release orders. It also  includes topics on domestic violence, information for plaintiffs, information for defendants, and words and definitions.

Tips for using AZPOINT

  1. Create a new, strong password that you haven't used before. Be careful about allowing a device or a computer save it for you. Keep your password private.
  2. Work through the interview, answering the questions on each screen. If an answer is required but you do not have exact information, make your best guess (for example, the defendant’s height or weight). Your responses will be saved automatically.
  3. When you have provided the minimum required information to file a petition, you will be "court ready." AZPOINT creates a petition number that you will need to file your petition with a court.
  4. You can print draft (unofficial) copies of the forms you've filled out in AZPOINT. Think before you print! Leaving copies of your draft paperwork where others can read them may increase your risk. The information that you saved in AZPOINT will stay here for 90 days, and you can come back to it as often as necessary. Think about your safety before you print draft copies.
  5. Be sure to LOG OUT every time you have finished working in AZPOINT.

Steps to file a petition

  1. After you have finished the AZPOINT interview, choose the court where you want to file the petition. You may file with a justice of the peace court, a city court, or a superior court. If you have a family case in progress, you must file with the superior court that is handling your family case. (Click here to find Arizona courts.)
  2. Contact the court where you're going to file to find out its procedures for telephonic, video, and in-person hearings and the hours and days the court is open.
  3. Give your petition number to court staff so your petition and other information can be retrieved from AZPOINT.

Where to file

  • If you have a family case in an Arizona court, you must file your petition with the superior court that is handling your family case.
  • If the defendant is age 11 or younger, you must file your petition in the juvenile division of the superior court.

In all other situations, you may file your petition with any Arizona city court, justice of the peace court, or superior court. Click to find an Arizona court. Contact the court to find out its procedures for telephonic, video, and in-person hearings and the hours and days the court is open. Have your petition number available so court staff can start your case.

What types of protective orders are available through AZPOINT?

You can use AZPOINT to fill out the paperwork for an Order of Protection (OP), an Injunction Against Harassment (IAH), or an Injunction Against Workplace Harassment (IAWH). You cannot use AZPOINT to petition for a Lifetime No-Contact Injunction. Go to Lifetime No-Contact Injunction for information. 

What is an Order of Protection (OP)?

An Order of Protection is a court order used to stop a person from committing domestic violence or from contacting other people protected by the order. It can also provide sev­eral other kinds of protective relief, such as removing firearms from the home, adding other people to the protective order, and giving exclusive use of the home to the plaintiff. Look for the OP law at ARS § 13-3602.

A person who believes her or his safety is in danger because of domestic violence or harass­ment can ask the court for an OP or an IAH. What determines the type of order that should be issued? The relationship between the person in danger and the person causing the danger is the deciding factor between an OP and an IAH.

What is an Injunction Against Harassment (IAH)?

An Injunction Against Harassment (IAH) is a court order that orders a person to stop harassing, annoying, or alarming another person. Injunctions are often used for disputes between neighbors or strangers, but a person who is a victim of sexual violence as defined in ARS § 23-371 can also file a petition for an IAH.

Harassment is defined as either  “a series of acts over any period of time that is directed at a specific person...” or one or more acts of sexual violence as defined in ARS § 23-371. More than one act of harassment has to have occurred to qualify for an IAH, but only one act of sexual violence has to have happened. The IAH differs from the OP in that exclusive use of the home cannot be ordered, and the police are not mandated to serve the injunction. The plaintiff must arrange for service, and a fee can be charged, except if the IAH is based on sexual violence. Look for the IAH law at ARS § 12-1809.

What is an Injunction Against Workplace Harassment (IAWH)?

An Injunction Against Workplace Harassment (IAWH) allows an employer or an employer's agent to file for relief on behalf of all employees at the workplace, any person who enters the employer's property, and any person who is performing official work duties. This allows the inclusion of numerous people under the protective umbrella of this injunction. Look for the IAWH law at ARS § 12-1810.

For an IAWH, harassment is defined as “a single threat or act of physical harm or damage or a series of acts over a period of time that would cause a reasonable person to be serious­ly alarmed or annoyed.”

An employer cannot seek an IAWH primari­ly to accomplish a purpose for which it was not designed (for example, prohibit free speech or other activities that are constitutionally or otherwise pro­tected by law).

Municipal courts cannot charge a fee for filing a petition for an IAWH, but superior court and justice of the peace courts are allowed to charge a filing fee. A law enforcement agency or a process server can charge a fee to serve an IAWH.

Who is the plaintiff?

The plaintiff is the person who files the request (a petition) for a protective order with the court.

Who is the defendant?

The defendant is the person against whom a petition for a protective order is filed. The defendant may ask for a contested hearing to dispute the allegations in the plaintiff's petition.

What basic information do I need for an OP or an IAH petition?

You will need:

  • The defendant's name, date of birth, and address (if known) and, if possible, any other address where the defendant can be reached.
  • The dates and facts of the domestic violence or harassing acts or why you believe that domestic violence or harm may occur without protection.
  • A safe address and phone number where the court can contact you if a hearing is scheduled or if there is a change of the hearing date.

Additional helpful information about the defendant includes a physical description, social security number, and any aliases.

What are the fees for a protective order?

There are no filing fees  for an OP or an IAH. Also, there are no fees to have an OP served. Fees can be charged for service of an IAH, except that an IAH arising from  sexual violence must be served at no cost to the plaintiff. A plaintiff can ask that service fees for an IAH be waived or deferred.

Filing and service fees can be charged for an IAWH. The filing fee for an IAWH can vary and depends on the type of court (superior, justice, or municipal) in which the employer has filed. If the employer cannot afford the service fees, the employer can ask the court to waive or defer these fees.

How long does an OP or an injunction last?

An OP lasts for two years from the date of service on the defendant. An unserved OP expires one year from the date it was issued.

An IAH or an IAWH lasts for one year from the date of service on the defendant. An unserved injunction expires one year from the date it was issued.

How can a person get an OP when the courts are closed?

A law enforcement officer can help a person apply for an Emergency Order of Protection (EOP) when the courts are closed. The law enforcement officer must have a reasonable belief that the plaintiff is in immediate and present danger of domestic violence based on a recent incident of actual domestic violence. A judicial officer may authorize issuance of an EOP in writing or verbally. Law enforcement must serve the EOP the defendant for the order to be effective.

The EOP will be in effect for seven calendar days from the date of issuance. If a person needs continued protection, the person may want to think about filing for an OP.

What if the defendant violates an OP or an IAH?


If the order has NOT been served, the defendant is not legally in violation of the order. Once the order has been personally served on the defendant, a violation of the order is a criminal act. If the defendant does not follow the terms in the OP or the IAH, then the police should be notified of a violation.

The decision to file criminal charges for violation of an OP or an IAH is made by the Prosecutor's Office, NOT by the victim or the court.

What if the defendant contacts the plaintiff before the order has been served?

CALL 9-1-1. Law enforcement can serve the defendant with the plaintiff's copy of the order. The plaintiff should always keep a copy of the order on hand in case of this type of emergency and also to prove to law enforcement that a protective order has been issued against the defendant.

Contact the AOC Support Center

For help and information, contact the Arizona Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) Support Center at (602) 452-3519 or toll-free at (800) 720-7743 during business hours, or email at [email protected]. The AOC Support Center is open Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The AOC Support Center is closed on weekends and on state holidays.

Getting help with AZPOINT

Passwords and User Account Help

If you forgot your Username or need help with your password, click the Reset Password button on the Account Login page. Look for helpful tips and information about creating an account and logging in under User Account.

If you have already received a protective order from a court and have questions about it, please contact the court that issued your order. The court's contact information is located on the first page of the protective order.

Contact the AOC Support Center

For help and information about AZPOINT, contact the AOC Support Center at (602) 452-3519 or toll-free at (800) 720-7743 during business hours, or email [email protected]. The Support Center is open Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The Support Center is closed on weekends and on state holidays.

Finding a victim advocate

Getting legal help with your case

Court staff can give you information, but they cannot give you legal advice. Only an attorney who is licensed in Arizona can give you legal advice. To find an attorney, contact:

Community Legal Services, Inc.
(800) 852-9075

State Bar of Arizona
(602) 252-4804

Arizona Supreme Court Domestic Violence Law Web Page

Use AZPOINT safely

Consider the following tips and suggestions to help use AZPOINT safely.

Use a private device. If you believe your computer or device is being monitored or isn’t safe, consider using a computer from a friend or a public library. You can find the nearest library by visiting

Read the Using Public Libraries FAQ text for more information

Use private browsing. Most browsers have a privacy mode that allows you to visit websites without storing any record of your activity on your computer or device. Learn more about private browsing by clicking How to browse privately/incognito in major browsers.

Clear your cache, history, and cookies. If you visited a site without a privacy/incognito mode, you can delete  records of your activity by clearing the cache, history, and cookies on your computer or device. Keep in mind that if someone is actively monitoring your computer, erasing this data could alert them to the fact that you are trying to conceal your actions. Learn more about deleting your browser history by clicking How to delete browser history in major browsers.

Using the Quick Exit button

Use the Quick Exit button to move quickly to another screen in your browser window. The Quick Exit button action logs you out of AZPOINT and loads a Google search page in your browser.

Note: The browser's back button and browser history remain in the browser window. Please read and follow tips and suggestions in the FAQ section regarding online safety and "incognito" or other options for safe browsing.

Options for a new email account

If you need to get a new email account, there are options. Services like Gmail and Yahoo offer free email accounts. The accounts differ in the amount of email storage, interface, and the types of advanced features included, such as messaging, filters, and the ability to import other data.



  • Extremely versatile and available across all types of devices
  • Regularly adds new features and updates
  • Allows the user to "un-send" an email

Sign up:

Gmail’s clean and uncluttered interface is regularly improved and upgraded, with useful new features added. Among these newer features is the ability to recall an email if you accidentally hit the send (or reply-all) button, the option to snooze messages so they can be brought back to your attention later, a Confidential mode that prevents messages being forwarded, copied or downloaded by recipients, and optional time limits so that messages delete themselves after a specified period. Gmail can automatically filter emails into Primary, Social, Promotions and Forums categories, and although this is a good approach, folders for organizing messages aren’t supported. Instead, you would attach labels, such as work, personal and family. Clicking a label shows all the messages tagged with it, essentially making it a search term.

Gmail is excellent at filtering out spam and offers useful extras such as quick links to track deliveries, amend reservations, and more without opening the email and searching for a link. Emails and contacts from other accounts can be imported, so switching to Gmail is painless. In addition, integration with Google Drive provides 15GB of free storage for email (and other Google services), but there's a 25MB limit on attachments, which is more restrictive than some other options.



  • Clean design
  • Supports multiple email accounts
  • Many useful features

Sign up:

Microsoft’s email service replaced Hotmail several years ago. While it has the same name as the desktop software that had been a part of Office for so long, the web and mobile versions offer fewer options by comparison. For many people, this is actually a good thing, as the free service still includes lots of useful features and tools. The ability to be organized into folders is one of these, with the option of setting rules to automate any future arrivals. Multiple email accounts can also be used, so you can have your Gmail addressed message delivered in Outlook. There’s a comprehensive junk mail filter in operation, and you have the ability to automate messages for when you’re away. 

In addition, it has the Focused inbox, which you can enable to prioritize messages from senders that you choose; the Sweep feature, which moves or deletes all messages from a sender or all messages past a certain date; tight calendar integration so invitations and travel arrangement emails appear in your schedule; temporary email aliases, and several other thoughtful tools.

Yahoo Mail


  • 1 TB of storage space
  • Shortcuts to images, documents, and attachments
  • Integrated GIFs, emojis, and graphics for emails

Sign up:

With 1TB of free storage, Yahoo's email service has a modern look and feel, with many useful features. Yahoo's search has been enhanced to return emails, images, files, and contacts, all easily accessible from shortcuts in the navigation column. If you search for a contact, you'll see your entire conversation history. Event and package delivery reminders also appear at the top of your inbox, making it harder to overlook them.

Other email accounts like Gmail, Outlook, etc., can be added so you can see all your messages in one location. Holiday responses are available, and disposable addresses can be created so your privacy can be preserved when necessary. Ads do exist in Yahoo Mail, and they seem more obvious than on some other services.

Computer safety and spyware

Stop! Is the computer or the device you’re using safe? Do you think a person causing harm to you has or had access to this device and could be monitoring you? If you feel this is a possibility, please exit out of this window and continue the application process on a safe device. Public libraries, some local courthouses, and advocate agencies may have computers or devices you can use. A trusted friend or family member may be willing to let you use their computers or devices. When using any type of device, be careful about allowing the device to save your passwords.

Spyware is a software program that can secretly collect personal information when you’re online. Keylogger spyware records the keystrokes you make on a keyboard. How do you know whether spyware has been installed on your device? Here are some red flags to watch for:

  • the device takes a long time to shut down;
  • the screen turns on when it's not in use, or there’s an unusual battery drain;
  • the battery is warm at rest;
  • you notice spikes in data use or increased charges on your phone bill, or
  • the person causing harm knows details about private conversations you've had with others and has had access to your devices.

If you're suspicious about the technology you're using, please exit this window, wipe the history, and use a more secure device.

Where to find public computers

If you're looking for a place to use a public computer, there are options. If free use is a need, your best bet is a public library. Libraries provide patrons with opportunities to use computers and other devices (e.g., laptops, tablets, ebook readers, etc.) to access online resources such as library catalogs, research databases, ebooks, other digital content, and the Internet. Patrons use library computers to create content including word processing documents, multimedia projects, email messages, and posts to social media and other websites. In addition, libraries often provide wired and wireless public networks that allow patrons to connect using a personal device. For more information regarding library privacy guidelines, please visit:

Look for computer rental stations at:

  • Staples
  • FedEx Office
  • The UPS Store

Another option is an Internet café (also called a cyber café), which provides Internet access to customers for a fee. The fee for using a computer is generally charged as a time-based rate.

How to delete history in major browsers

How browsers track your data

Activity. Web browsers keep track of your past activity. Activity tracking can help you retrace your steps, bring back pages you want to refer to again, and reach your favorite sites quickly. While these features are handy at times, the Internet history file it creates contains all your past browsing sessions—the list of sites and pages you’ve visited—some of which you may not want others who use the same computer or device to find. However, today's web browsers make it simple to erase your history and get rid of your past online activity.

Download history. Browsers also track your download history, which is a list of files you've downloaded. Don't confuse this history with the actual downloaded files themselves, which you have stored somewhere on your computer's disk. It's simply a list of references to them, which helps when you've previously downloaded a file and now can't find it or if you want to download the same file again.

Cookies. Next, there are cookies—little pieces of code that sites store on your system. Cookies help websites recognize who you are, but there are many different forms. For example, if you go to a weather website and it immediately shows you the cities whose weather conditions you've previously searched, that's a cookie in action. If you come back to a previously visited shopping site and the same items are still in your shopping cart, that's cookies at work. These files don't harm your computer, but some users don't like to be tracked this way and delete them regularly.

Cache. Browsers also keep a "cache," containing local copies of graphics and other elements that your browser uses to load pages more quickly. When you return to a site you've just visited, for example, the browser may pull site images from the cache instead of pulling them from the Internet again. In this way, the amount of data downloaded is reduced, and the whole page-loading process is sped up. 

How much to erase? When you decide to erase your Internet history, most browsers will list all types of data separately. If you decide to clear out everything, you will start all over again as if you had a new browser on a new computer. Or you may wish to keep certain types of files, like the cookies and cache but not history, to make your browsing life more convenient.

Cleaning your browser data

In Google Chrome, click on the three dots to the right of the address bar opening the application menu, then click "Settings." Scroll down and click "Advanced," then click "Clear browsing data." Select from the list options, set the time period you want to clear, then click the "Clear browsing data" button. Note: If you've set your browser to sync with other computers via a Google account, clearing your history will also delete that data across all the other devices that you've signed into in Chrome.

In Mozilla Firefox click the three horizontal lines to the right of the address bar to open the Firefox menu, then select "Options" (called Preferences in the macOS version of the browser). Click "Privacy"; then click the link marked "Clear your recent history." Switch to the "Details" tab to see different types of data, and set the time period using the dropdown menu at the top. Then click "Clear Now" to confirm.

In Apple Safari on macOS, your browsing history will be deleted by opening the Safari menu and then clicking "Clear History." Select the time period you want to erase from the dropdown menu, then click "Clear History" to confirm the action. Note: When you clear your Safari history, you won't get the option to delete different types of data—you’ll be wiping out your cookies and cached files along with your history.

In your Microsoft Edge browser, to clear your browsing history, click the three dots to the right of the address bar, then select "Settings" from the menu that appears. Under the "Clear browsing data" heading, click "Choose what to clear." Next, make your choices from the list, which includes browsing history and cached data, and then click "Clear."

In the Windows version of the Opera browser, first click 'Menu' at the top left of the screen. Then select "More tools" and "Clear browsing data" to bring up the correct dialog box. Then choose your data type, specify the time period, and click "Clear browsing data."

On macOS, Opera requires a slightly different process: Open the menu, click "Preferences"; select "Privacy & security"; and then click "Clear Browsing Data." You'll then end up with the same history-clearing options—types of data, time period, etc., that you’d see in the Windows version.

How to browse privately in incognito on major browsers

All of today’s major web browsers—Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari—offer a feature that provides a private/incognito browsing window and deletes the browsing history on your computer after you close it. (To open a private window, go to the File menu and look near the New Window option.) These windows can help reduce the amount of information collected on you. 

How to start Google Chrome Incognito (CTRL+SHIFT+N)

Google calls its private browsing feature Incognito. To open a new Incognito window, click the "Customize and control Google Chrome" button in the top right corner of the browser window that looks like three dots. Then, choose "New incognito window."

A new window will open, explaining what incognito browsing means: Google Chrome does not save your browsing history, cookies and site data, and the information entered in forms (e.g., addresses, passwords, etc.). Any files you download or bookmarks you create are kept. Lastly, Incognito disables Google Chrome extensions, but you can manually enable them to work in this mode as well.  In Google Chrome you can recognize an Incognito window by its logo in the top-right corner: an image of a person in disguise (hat and dark glasses).

How to start Mozilla Firefox in Private Browsing (CTRL+SHIFT+P)

To enable Private Browsing in Mozilla Firefox, click or tap the "Open menu" button in the top right side of the browser window. It has three parallel lines stacked on top of each other. Then, choose "New Private Window."

A new private window is opened with content blocking enabled. When browsing in Firefox private mode, it does not keep your browsing history, search history, download history, web form history, cookies, or temporary internet files. But the files that you download and the bookmarks you make are saved. Firefox explicitly warns you that your ISP (Internet Service Provider) or employer can still track the pages you visit; the other browsers will not. Content blocking is enabled by default, so online trackers cannot collect information about your browsing behavior. To see if your current Mozilla Firefox window has Private Browsing enabled, look for the purple mask icon in the top right corner of the browser window. If shown, you are browsing privately.

How to start Microsoft Edge in InPrivate browsing (CTRL+SHIFT+P)

Microsoft Edge's private browsing mode is called InPrivate. To start a new browser window in this mode, click the "Settings and more" button in the top-right corner. It looks like three dots. Choose "New InPrivate window" from the menu. To be sure you're using InPrivate browsing, look for a blue square at the top-right corner of the app window.

How to start Opera in Private Browsing (CTRL+SHIFT+N)

To open a private browsing window in Opera, click the "Customize and control Opera" button found on the top left side of the browser window. Then, click "New private window."  A new Private Browsing window opens, giving you information about this browsing mode. You're also informed that you can turn on the built-in VPN for more privacy. This button is found on the left side of the address bar. Extensions are also disabled in this mode. The sunglasses logo on the left side of the tab you're on indicates that you're Private Browsing in Opera.


Look for private browsing information on assorted versions of macOS at Browse privately in Safari on Mac - Apple Support.

Don't have an account yet? Here are the steps to set one up.

1. Click the ‘Start or View Petitions’ link, located in the ‘AZPOINT’ section of the AZPOINT home page (

2. Enter your first name, last name, and then click the blue ‘Next Step’ button.

3. You can either (a) continue filling out your petition and finish the account setup later, or (b) open your personal email box and continue the account setup process.

4. Open your personal email box to view the email message from AZPOINT.  The email will be from ‘[email protected]’.  Note: Check your spam or trash folders if you cannot find the email.

5. Click the link on the blue ‘white key iconVerify Email’ button, shown within the email message.

6. Enter your email address, password, and click the ‘Login’ button at the login section.  You are now logged into AZPOINT.

Forgot your User Account password? Follow these steps.

1. Click the ‘Start or View Petitions’ link, located in the ‘AZPOINT’ section of the AZPOINT home page (

2. Click the blue ‘Login’ button, located on the left side of the ‘Create Account’ section.

3. Click ‘Create or Reset Password,’ located in the lower portion of the ‘Login to AZPOINT’ section.

4. Enter your email address, and click blue ‘Send Reset Link’ button. A message will display, advising that you'll soon receive an email with a link to reset your password.

5. Open your personal email box to view the email message from AZPOINT. The email will be from [email protected]Note: Check your spam or trash folders if you can't find the email.

6. Click the link on the blue ‘white key iconReset Password’ button, shown within the email message.

7. Enter your new password, confirm your new password, then click blue ‘Change Password’ button.

8. You'll see a ‘Password Changed Successfully’ message, and the AZPOINT website will open for you.

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